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Cefixime Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to cefixime: oral capsule, oral powder for suspension, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by cefixime. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking cefixime:

More common:
  • Diarrhea
  • loose or frequent stools
Less common:
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • agitation
  • black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • coma
  • confusion
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • decreased urine output
  • depression
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • feeling of discomfort
  • fever
  • general tiredness and weakness
  • headache
  • hives, itching, or skin rash
  • hostility
  • inflammation of the joints
  • irritability
  • joint or muscle pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • lethargy
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle aches
  • muscle twitching
  • nausea and vomiting
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • rapid weight gain
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • seizures
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • stupor
  • swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
  • swollen glands
  • swollen lymph glands
  • tightness in the chest
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • vomiting of blood
  • yellow eyes or skin
Incidence not known:
  • Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
  • back, leg, or stomach pains
  • cough or hoarseness
  • coughing up blood
  • diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
  • general body swelling
  • increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
  • increased thirst
  • nosebleeds
  • pain paralysis
  • prolonged bleeding from cuts
  • red or black, tarry stools
  • red or dark brown urine
  • sudden decrease in the amount of urine
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual weight loss

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with cefixime may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Less common:
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • bloated
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • full feeling
  • heartburn
  • hives or welts
  • indigestion
  • itching of the vagina or genital area itching or pain of the genital area
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • passing gas
  • redness of the skin
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
  • white patches in the mouth or throat or on the tongue
  • white patches with diaper rash

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to cefixime: oral capsule, oral powder for reconstitution, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable


Cefixime is generally well-tolerated.[Ref]


Pseudomembranous colitis may occur during or after treatment with cefixime.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal side effects have included diarrhea (16%), nausea (7%), loose or frequent stools (6%), flatulence (4%), abdominal pain (3%), dyspepsia (3%), vomiting, and pseudomembranous colitis.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity reactions have included urticaria, rash, pruritus, drug fever, angioedema, facial edema, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, serum sickness-like reactions, and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions, including shock and fatalities, have also been reported.[Ref]

A case of occupational contact dermatitis due to cephalosporin allergy has been reported in a nurse who prepared cephalosporin solutions for administration to patients. The dermatitis resolved after the nurse stopped preparing the solutions.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included headache, dizziness, somnolence, and seizures. At least one case of encephalopathy has been reported.[Ref]


Renal side effects have included transient rises in serum BUN and creatinine, and acute renal failure. Cephalosporin class antibiotics have been associated with renal dysfunction and toxic nephropathy.[Ref]

Interstitial nephritis has been reported rarely in association with other cephalosporins. Fever, azotemia, pyuria, and eosinophiluria are the hallmarks of this disorder.[Ref]


Hematologic side effects have included transient thrombocytopenia, eosinophilia, leukopenia, neutropenia, and prothrombin time prolongation. Cephalosporin class antibiotics have been associated with aplastic anemia, hemolytic anemia, hemorrhage, positive direct Coombs test, pancytopenia, and agranulocytosis.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects have included hepatitis, jaundice, and transient increases in SGPT, SGOT, and alkaline phosphatase. Cephalosporin class antibiotics have been associated with hepatic dysfunction including cholestasis.[Ref]


Metabolic side effects have included hyperbilirubinemia. Cephalosporin class antibiotics have been associated with increases in LDH.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects have included genital pruritus, vaginitis, and candidiasis.[Ref]


Cephalosporin class antibiotics have been associated with superinfection.[Ref]


1. Gooch WM, Philips A, Rhoades R, Rosenberg R, Schaten R, Starobin S "Comparison of the efficacy, safety and acceptability of cefixime and amoxicillin/clavulanate in acute otitis media." Pediatr Infect Dis J 16 Suppl 2 (1997): s21-4

2. Shah PM, Troster K "Safety profile of cefixime: results of a german postmarketing surveillance study of 6361 patients." Curr Ther Res Clin Exp 55 (1994): 57-62

3. "Product Information. Suprax (cefixime)." Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc, Baltimore, MD.

4. Iravani A, Richard GA, Johnson D, Bryant A "A double-blind, multicenter, comparative study of the safety and efficacy of cefixime versus amoxicillin in the treatment of acute urinary tract infections in adult." Am J Med 85 (1988): 17-23

5. Tally FP, Desjardins RE, McCarthy EF, Cartwright K "Safety profile of cefixime." Pediatr Infect Dis J 6 (1987): 976-80

6. Filipe P, Almeida RSLS, Rodrigo FG "Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from cephalosporins." Contact Dermatitis 34 (1996): 226

7. Handsfield HH, McCormack WM, Hook EW, et al "A comparison of single-dose cefixime with ceftriaxone as treatment for uncomplicated gonorrhea." N Engl J Med 325 (1991): 1337-41

8. Romano A, Mayorga C, Torres MJ, Artesani MC, Suau R, Sanchez F, Perez E, Venuti A, Blanca M "Immediate allergic reactions to cephalosporins: Cross-reactivity and selective responses." J Allerg Clin Immunol 106 (2000): 1177-83

9. Capparelli FJ, Diaz MF, Hlavnika A, Wainsztein NA, Leiguarda R, Del Castillo ME "Cefepime- and cefixime-induced encephalopathy in a patient with normal renal function." Neurology 65 (2005): 1840

10. Toll LL, Lee M, Sharifi R "Cefoxitin-induced interstitial nephritis." South Med J 80 (1987): 274-5

11. Hausen T, Weidlich G, Schmitt J "Safety and efficacy of cefixime in treatment of respiratory tract infections in germany." Infection 23 Suppl (1995): s65-9

Not all side effects for cefixime may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.